The high watermark of education in India continues to be the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT). Getting a seat in these prestigious institutes is a lot of rigor and the ones who crack it have many career avenues open to them—the best organisations in the country and abroad for entrepreneurship. Jawaharlal Nehru, the country's first prime minister, was the brainchild behind the setting up of IITs.
Addressing the 56th convocation of IIT-Bombay, Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed IITs as India's Instrument of Transformation. He called IIT graduates the frontrunners of India’s startup ecosystem.
From tech-disruptors to financial magnates, socially-conscious businesses to global leaders, IITians have created their own definitions of success. Some have chartered their own paths more successfully than most and are industry leaders in the country and sought-after globally for their business acumen and strategy.
There are some well-known IITians who have built organisations and businesses that have become synonymous with their names. Mentioned below are some of the well-known businessmen and the businesses they founded or co-founded.
India's software giant Infosys was co-founded in 1981 by Nagavara Ramarao Narayana Murthy or N R Narayana Murthy as he is popularly known. Murthy received his master degree from IIT-Kanpur. Infosys provides business technology, consulting, engineering and outsourcing services all over the world. A first-generation entrepreneur, Murthy received the country's civilian awards--the Padma Shri and Padma Vibushan.
Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of Infosys, is an IIT-Bombay alumni. Along with Narayana Murthy, he co-founded Infosys in 1981 and was the CEO from 2002 till 2007. A first-generation entrepreneur, he was the first Chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)—the parent agency for Aadhaar.
Some IIT-ians have made their mark in the international arena. Legendary Silicon Valley investor Vinod Khosla is an Indian American billionaire businessman who co-founded Sun Microsystems. An alumnus of IIT-Delhi, Sun Microsystems created the Java programming language and Network File System (NFS). He also founded a venture capital firm, Khosla Ventures in 2004.
The country's first online trading platform was introduced by a Sameer Gehlaut, an IITian from Delhi. He is the Founder and Chairman of the Indiabulls Group, one of India’s leading financial conglomerates. He is the pioneer of the online trading business in India, having introduced India’s first online trading platform as far back as in 2000. Like Murthy and Nilekani, Sameer too is a first-generation entrepreneur and alumnus of IIT. He holds a BTech degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT-Delhi. In 2008, Gehlaut was described by Forbes as "India's youngest self-made billionaire".
Flipkart, one of India's well-known e-commerce portal was co-founded by two IIT-ians from Delhi. Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal (not related), started off their entrepreneurial journey with an online bookstore. Later, Flipkart became the most valued e-commerce platform in India and in 2008 was acquired by US retail giant Walmart for $16 billion.
A former IIT-ian from Delhi, Vijay K Thadani co-founded NIIT in 1981 and is it is managing director. NIIT is a multinational company that offers learning management and training delivery solutions to corporations, institutions and individuals.
After completing his undergraduate studies in chemical engineering from IIT-Delhi to supplementing it with an MBA from Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Pranay Chulet went on co-founded Quikr, an online and mobile classifieds portal.
From cracking the biggest deals to now heading Palo Alto Networks–a multinational cyber-security company in the US, Nikesh Arora is an alumnus of IIT - Varanasi, where he pursued B.Tech in Electrical Engineering. Likewise, Amit Singhal, the senior vice president and software engineer at Google Inc, has made his mark abroad. He received his Bachelor of Engineering degree in computer science from IIT Roorkee in 1989.
An alumnus of IIT Kharagpur, Sundar Pichai is the Senior Vice President at Google. Before joining Google, Pichai held various engineering and product management positions at Applied Materials, and was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company for a variety of software and semiconductor clients.
Yellepeddi Padmasree Warrior, the former Chief Executive Officer of NIO, an electric-car company in the United States received a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and a master's degree in from Cornell University. During Warrior's tenure as CTO at Motorola, the organisation was awarded the 2004 National Medal of Technology by the President of the United States.
The co-founder of HCL Group is an IIT-ian from Kharagpur. In 1975, Arjun Malhotra co-founded the HCL Group, where he was the vice-chairman. Later, he started TechSpan and served as chief executive officer of the US-based firm Headstrong after the two companies merged.
Updated Date: Jul 22, 2019 10:08:04 IST